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Council to consider requiring landlords to pay tenant relocation costs
The City Council will consider requiring landlords to pay relocation assistance ranging from $2,900 to $4,500 to tenants who are evicted without cause on Thursday.
The payments would also be required to tenants who chose to move if their rent is increased 10 percent or more over 12 months.
The ordinance to amend the City Code was introduced by Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly in response the city's affordable housing crisis. It is expected to be supported by affordable housing advocated and opposed by landlords and organizations representing them.
Attorney John DiLorenzo, who had represented landlords in the past, has said the new requirement violates the statewide ban on local rent control measures. The 2017 Oregon Legislature is expected to consider repealing the ban. An opinion issued last year by the Legislative Counsel says local governments can already require tenants to pay relocation assistance, however.
The ordinance says annual Portland rents have increased more than 5 percent over the each of the past four years, with the average rent increasing nearly 30 percent since 2012. It also says that 42 percent of Portlanders are renters, with over 52 percent considered "cost burdered" because they pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income for rent. In fact, according to the ordinance, the average renter pays between 45 and 49 percent of their monthly income in rent.
The relocation assistance is intended to cover such charges as deposits, double rents, and moving costs. They were determined by averaging the range of rental rates of similarly sized units across the city. The payments would be $2,900 for a studio or single room occupancy unit, $3,300 for a one-bedroom unit, $4,200 for a two-bedroom unit, and $4,500 for a three-bedroom or larger dwelling unit.
Because the ordinance was submitted by two of the five council members, only one more vote is required to pass it.
You can read the proposed ordinance at www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/article/626044.